• Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas will team up for the Tour of Britain. (Getty)Source: Getty
Chris Froome will abandon a Vuelta a España title defence to compete at the OVO Tour of Britain alongside newly crowned Tour de France champion and teammate Geraint Thomas.
Sophie Smith

Cycling Central
16 Aug 2018 - 5:57 PM  UPDATED 16 Aug 2018 - 6:14 PM

The pair headline a formidable Sky squad set to enter the 2-9 September stage race, which has attracted a star-studded field including Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin) as well as Australian Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-Scott).

It was anticipated Froome would race the Vuelta following his third place to Welshman Thomas and Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) at the Tour de France. Sky is yet to confirm a reason behind the apparent schedule change, which simply may be down to fatigue and circumstance.

Froome will surely look to enter the UCI Road World Championships with Team GB, and the Vuelta, which would have been his fifth consecutive Grand Tour, may have hindered over helped preparation. The reigning Giro d’Italia champion and his wife, Michelle, have also recently welcomed their second child.

“The Vuelta a España has always been such a big goal and sadly coincided with the Tour of Britain, but not doing La Vuelta this year gives me the chance to come back to the UK and race on what looks like a great parcours,” Froome said. “I’m really looking forward to riding. I always remember there being a great atmosphere at the Tour of Britain and the race has only got bigger over the years.”

Froome powers back on to Paris podium
Froome finished just one second off the pace set by stage winner Tom Dumoulin to put himself back on the podium in Paris.

Dutchman Wout Poels will join the duo, with the rest of Sky yet to be announced.

Thomas, 32, has proved a popular Tour victor and stands to receive another especially warm reception over the eight stages that feature.

“It starts in Wales, which will be special, and then I get to go and race across the whole of the UK,” said Thomas. “I want to go to the race in the shape to compete and enjoy it. We’ll have to see how the next few weeks go but I’m looking forward to it and I know we will have a strong team there. Wout is looking really good at the moment too.”

Ewan stormed to three stage victories and marked a stint in the leader’s jersey at the 2017 edition. This year’s race may prove to be one of his last showings in Mitchelton-Scott colours. The 24-year-old was controversially snubbed from its Tour de France team last month and has since confirmed he will join Lotto-Soudal from 2019.

Also set for the race is Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo), fresh from a breakthrough Tour de France where he finished fourth overall and a strong Quick-Step Floors outfit with Tour mountains classification winner Julian Alaphilippe, Bob Jungels and Fernando Gavaria. Andre Greipel will headline Lotto-Soudal.

The Tour of Britain will commence from Pembrey Country Park, in south Wales, and finish in London, England.